Uncertain World is a mural painted on the side of 29 Park Row, by Bristol-based street artist Alex Lucas, also known as Lucas Antics. Commissioned by the University of Bristol’s Cabot Institute for the Environment in 2015, this mural was inspired by the Cabot Institute’s Uncertain World research. It is visible from the street at the corner of Woodland Road and Park Row.
During 2015, the year of Bristol as European Green Capital, the Cabot Institute explored The Uncertain World: what the world could be like if greenhouse gas concentrations were twice what they are today. This art commission was funded as part of the public engagement activity of The Greenhouse Earth System, an EU-Funded Grant to Rich Pancost.
The brief for the artwork was to encourage people to reflect on the topic of uncertainty and to show how different life could be with high levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and higher sea levels.
The mural imagines a potential future world colliding with that of the very deep past – the Jurassic – with carbon dioxide concentrations as high as they could be by the end of this century.
Each prehistoric mammal and the Bristol scenery was drawn individually and then composed together using Photoshop so the artist could ‘mock up’ different versions of the mural.
Alex Lucas, also known as Lucas Antics, is a Bristol based illustrator, street artist & muralist. Her often dark, quirky, humorous designs can be seen painted on walls and buildings around the UK.
A love of graphic novels and raw art combined with influences as wide as Ralph Steadman, who she has exhibited with, Gary Baseman and Egon Schiele, she has honed a unique and compelling style of her own.
Lucas holds a degree in Multimedia Textile Design, an MA in Animation and Illustration and an MA in Art Therapy.
Cabot Institute for the Environment
The Cabot Institute for the Environment is a diverse community of 600 experts, united by a common cause: protecting our environment and identifying ways of living better with our changing planet.
I was excited to work on this project as it was my first experience of illustrating prehistoric creatures, based on their fossils in Bristol Museum and Art Gallery. Due to the mysterious nature of what such creatures actually looked like, I felt I could ‘play’ with their personalities and provide them with certain characteristics. The ammonites were particular fun as their temperaments seemed to grow with their development on the page and they seem so charismatic!
Climatically, the world of the twenty-first century will be unlike anything humans have experienced, but not necessarily unlike anything the Earth has experienced. Alex’s art depicts a sea level rise that is unlikely to happen soon – even in a world with 800 parts per million of carbon dioxide, twice that of today, sea level rise of more than one metre will take some time. But it will likely happen eventually.
It has been a privilege to work with the Cabot Institute as bringing arts and sciences together creates a wonderful dynamic. Not only have I learnt a lot from this project but I have been inspired by the nature and the ethos of it. The relationship between the arts and sciences needs to be successfully demonstrated and integrated into our society.